Battle of the Bins

By Dr. Christina Dean 10 December, 2012

With limited landfill sites & piles of unwanted clothes, Dr. Christina Dean digs into the clothes we trash, With limited landfill sites & piles of unwanted clothes, Dr. Christina Dean digs into the clothes we trash, With limited landfill sites & piles of unwanted clothes, Dr. Christina Dean digs into the clothes we trash

An average of 217 tonnes of textiles were discarded into HK landfills every day in 2011
Almost 10,000 garments are thrown into UK landfills every 5 minutes
If everyone in HK bought one 2nd-hand woolen jumper, an average of 198 million liters of water will be saved

It’s That Time of Year again for credit card carnage as we slap them on counters, swipe them in sales and punch their sorry little digits online as we and our trusted plastic heroes shop til we drop.

Many of these purchases, whether jet-expressed to distant relatives or destined for home ground, will not be cherished long after the Christmas cheer morphs into chunkier hemlines and the resulting diet dread.

Cue: Battle of the Bins

In an effort to rattle consumers’ wardrobes and consciousness about high clothing waste rates in the busiest shopping season of the year, I and 12 formidable fashion bloggers from the #HKFashionBloggers family are decking ourselves in dumped clothes salvaged from Friends of the Earth’s Hong Kong clothing bins this Christmas.

Every day from 1-12 December 2012, our fashion army combined forces and the same stock of discarded clothes to create 24 unique outfits (believe me some of them are!) to give consumers 12 reasons to textile waste (see box below).

But this fun challenge, captained by fashion stylists with trained eyes for spotting treasures amongst heaps of fashion’s tragic loses, frontlines serious environmental issues related to our fashion greed.

  • On average 217 tonnes of textiles were discarded into Hong Kong landfills every day in 2011
  • Almost 10,000 garments are thrown into UK landfills every 5 minutes.

So this year, in spreading the love for second hand clothes, I feel like I’m smelling like roses, but am told it’s more like mothballs.

12 reasons to love ♥ textile waste

Reason to ♥ textile waste #1: it´s safe. Textile recycling does not create any new hazardous waste or harmful by-products…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #2: it´s energy saving. Textile recycling requires less energy than any other type of recycling and reusing second-hand clothing saves approximately 97% of the energy required to produce similar new clothing. Good reasons to save…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #3: it´s reusable. Used clothes can be reconstructed into “new” one-of-a kind garments or repurposed into “new” textiles so share the love…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #4: it´s environmentally conscious. Buying 1kg of used textiles (rather than new) saves 3,6kg of CO2 emissions, 6000 l of water, 0,3 kg of fertilizersand 0,2kg of pesticides. What better reason…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #5: it´s repairable. We often forget that buttons and hemlines can be re-sewn back to their original beauty…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #6: it´s a commodity. You can swap used clothes with your friends or even strangers and enjoy glorious guilt- free shopping…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #7: it´s recyclable. Textiles are almost 100% recyclable – so nothing in the textile and clothing industries should be wasted. We wish…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #8: it´s needed. Textile waste can provide clothing for less fortunate people around the world. Don’t ever dump – donate and help someone in need instead…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #9: it´s multi-functional. Unwearable textile waste can be used as car insulation, furniture padding or even to create paper. Clever old textiles…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #10: it´s water saving. If everyone in Hong Kong bought one second-hand woolen jumper per year instead of buying one new jumper, we would save an average of 198 million liters of water. Get me some wool…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #11: it´s simple. Reusing textiles keeps them out landfill – where many synthetic textiles never decompose or disappear…

Reason to ♥ textile waste #12: it´s pressure-less. Reusing textile waste reduces the pressure and demands on virgin resources. Lighten the load, ladies.

 

For more information about the 12 Days of Christmas Campaign, please click here

Dr. Christina Dean
Author: Dr. Christina Dean
Dr. Christina Dean is the founder and CEO of Redress, a Hong Kong based environmental NGO working to promote environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption. Redress achieves this by conducting educational sustainable fashion shows, exhibitions, seminars, competitions and research. Prior to establishing Redress in 2007, Christina was a journalist and prior to this a practicing dental surgeon. In 2010, Christina was listed by US online magazine Coco Eco as one of ‘2010’s Most Influential Women in Green’. In 2009 she was listed by UK Vogue as one of the UK’s ‘Top 30 Inspirational Women’.
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